Aviva cuts its wage bill after investor revolt

INSURANCE group Aviva cut its directors’ wage bill by more than a third last year as it tried to mend relations with shareholders who rebelled over excessive executive pay.

Britain’s fourth-biggest insurer by market value paid its directors a total of £4.77m in 2012, down from £7.28m the previous year, figures published yesterday in its annual report showed.

In May last year, Aviva became a high-profile target of the shareholder spring that spread across Europe, when half of its shareholders voted against its pay proposals for 2011.

Then-CEO Andrew Moss was forced out less than a week later as criticism mounted over a poor share price performance during his tenure.

The drop in earnings for Aviva’s top managers in 2012 largely reflects the cancellation of all director bonuses. Chairman John MacFarlane, who took day-to-day control of the insurer following Moss’s departure, received no extra pay despite his increased workload.

“Whilst we have traditionally had good shareholder support for our remuneration policies over many years, we believe in 2011 we clearly got it wrong,” remuneration committee chairman Scott Wheway wrote in the report.